Recently in Motorcycle Accidents Category

Missouri motorcyclists extremely vulnerable to injury in crashes involving passenger vehicles

1115272_harley_davidson_indicator_focus.jpgIn 2010, there were approximately 8.2 million motorcycles registered in the United States, and that number continues to grow each year. With such a large motorcycle population on the road in Columbia, Missouri, it's all the more essential that other drivers treat riders with courtesy and respect, and that all motorists work together to share the road safely. After all, when another vehicle is involved in a collision with the motorcycle, the motorcyclist is extremely vulnerable to serious, life-threatening injury, in large part because riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of deaths on motorcycles was approximately 30 times the number in cars per mile traveled in 2010.

A recent fatal crash in Delaware underscores the very real dangers facing motorcyclists and their passengers. On Tuesday, a woman was killed and her husband was seriously injured after a car pulled into their motorcycle's path. The Delaware News Journal reports that the couple's 2000 Harley-Davidson struck the front left corner of a vehicle that was exiting a private business and failed to yield the right of way to the oncoming bike. The Harley's passenger, 48 year-old Judy Kibler, was ejected from the motorcycle and pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, 49 year-old Lawrence Kibler, was also ejected and remains hospitalized in critical condition. Neither of the Kiblers was wearing a helmet, but Delaware state law only requires helmet use in riders age 18 and younger.

Meanwhile, the driver of the other vehicle, 20 year-old Ann Breeding, was not injured in the collision. The accident is currently under investigation by the Delaware State Police Reconstruction Unit, and criminal charges against Breeding are reportedly pending.

Facts about motorcycle accidents involving other passenger vehicles:

• About 40% of fatal two-vehicle motorcycle accidents in 2011 occurred when another vehicle turned left as a motorcyclist was going straight, passing or overtaking the vehicle.

• According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 50% of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur in intersections, often because a turning driver doesn't see an oncoming rider or fails to yield the right of way.

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Daughter of couple killed in July 4th motorcycle crash sues driver for wrongful death

1011830_roads_of_usa_4.jpgThe daughter of an Indiana couple who died in a Fourth of July motorcycle crash has filed a wrongful death suit against the at-fault driver, reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. James R. Hendrickson and Mary Catherine Hendrickson were killed when another driver crossed a highway centerline and struck their motorcycle head on. The collision caused the motorcycle to catch fire. James Hendrickson died at the scene, and Mary Hendrickson later died at a nearby hospital. The lawsuit requests compensation for all expenses associated with the accident, including medical bills, funeral expenses and attorney fees.

Legally, a death is said to be "wrongful" if it is caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of another individual or company, whether that conduct was intentional or unintentional. A wrongful death claim is a civil action: it is completely separate from a criminal charge, and neither proceeding affects nor controls the other. In other words, a defendant can still be sued for wrongful death even if he or she has been acquitted of a criminal charge (like murder) in connection with the death. Normally, wrongful death claims are brought on behalf of the spouses, children and/or parents of the deceased. If there are no such family members, siblings of the victim (or their children) can bring the action.

For a wrongful death claim to succeed in court, there are four elements that must be proven:

(1) The death was caused, in whole or part, by the conduct of the defendant.
(2) The defendant was negligent or strictly liable for the victim's death.
(3) There is a surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents.
(4) Monetary damages or human damages (such as loss of consortium) have resulted from the victim's death.

In the event of a wrongful death, Missouri law allows the entitled parties to recover their losses, which may include the following expenses:

• Medical bills
• Funeral, memorial, burial services
• Lost wages and lost future wages
• Lost benefits
• Lost inheritance
• Mental anguish
• Loss of companionship and loss of consortium
• Loss of support
• General damages
• Punitive damages

Continue reading "Daughter of couple killed in July 4th motorcycle crash sues driver for wrongful death" »

Have you suffered catastrophic injuries in a Columbia car crash?

1262386_handicap_cracks.jpgSadly, catastrophic injuries are common in Missouri car accidents. Victims sometimes suffer life-long pain and disability. If this sounds like you or a loved one, you are likely highly stressed, scared, and angry. You're wondering how to cover all those medical bills - not to mention your regular monthly expenses, like rent, utilities, and food.

Car accidents can result in varying degrees of injury, depending on the circumstances that cause the crash. The following factors tend to affect the severity of injuries sustained in a car wreck:

• The location of the impact on the vehicle(s)
• The severity of the collision
• The type of automobiles involved
• The age and health condition of the parties involved

Unfortunately, car accidents frequently end in serious, life-altering injury. Here are some of the most common kinds of catastrophic injuries connected to car wrecks:

• Brain injuries (including skull fractures, brain swelling and nerve damage)
• Neck and spine injuries (including both whiplash, soft tissue injury, and skeletal injury - which can cause loss of motor functions)
• Face injuries (including lacerations, eye injuries, broken teeth and broken noses)
• Broken bones and or/joint damage
• Mental health issues (including depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder

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Warm Weather Leads to Increase in Columbia, Missouri Motorcycle Accidents

754890_traffic.jpgWinter is almost behind us: in fact, Missouri weather has been almost summer-like this week. The warm months ahead are the biggest time of year for motorcycle riding in Columbia, Jefferson City and throughout the state. It has been speculated that increasing gas prices trigger a corresponding rise in the number of people who use motorcycles for daily transportation. Although it's true that riding a bike is much more energy efficient, motorcyclists are also more likely to suffer serious injuries in the event of an auto accident.

Last Friday marked the beginning of Daytona's annual Bike Week, a 10-day event in that is expected to attract 500,000 motorcycle riders this year. Our Columbia car accident lawyers were saddened to hear that there have already been reports of at least 4 motorcyclists killed in separate collisions - including one rider from Neosho, Missouri. The accident happened today in Flagler County, Florida: 39 year-old Diana Sallee was a passenger on a Harley Davidson that collided with 2 non-moving vehicles. Local law enforcement reports that a Chevrolet Suburban and another motorcycle were stopped in the roadway while waiting to turn left into a state park: it appears that the Harley's driver, 38 year-old Billy Sallee (also of Neosho), simply failed to see them

Billy Sallee only sustained minor injuries in the collision, but Diana Sallee was ejected and thrown under the Suburban. She was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance, but she later died as a result of her injuries. Both riders were wearing helmets. The Florida Highway Patrol is currently awaiting toxicology results for Billy Sallee: depending on those results, he may face criminal charges.

Even with a helmet, riding a motorcycle can be considerably more dangerous than driving a closed vehicle (like a car, van or SUV). One of the biggest dangers to motorcyclists is that other drivers often fail to see them. Drivers of cars and trucks are reminded to share the road with motorcyclists (and their vehicles aren't always as easy to spot). When making a turn, it's important look carefully for any motorcycles that might be oncoming, in the lane next to you, or in the lane you are turning into.

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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents on Missouri Roadways

Missouri Motorcycle AccidentIf you love the feel of the open road and feel totally alive when you're on your motorcycle (or even when you're just thinking about riding your bike), it is in your best interest to know how to keep safe on Missouri roadways. Taking just a moment to take a precaution, anticipate a hazard, or, simply, to put on your helmet and slow down may save a life, yours.

All motorcyclists need to be aware, but those driving high performance bikes need a stronger reminder. Supersport motorcycle accidents involve deaths four times the rate of regular motorcycles in accidents.

While you can control your own actions, you need to be able to anticipate and react to the actions of other drivers (car, truck, bus, and bicycle), pedestrians, and Missouri roadway or weather conditions as well. While it doesn't appear that motorcyclists are involved in more accidents than other vehicles, it is clear that motorcycle accidents result in more serious injuries, including fatal injuries.
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Control Your Own Actions While Riding Your Motorcycle

A moment of poor judgment or distraction could change your life or end your life, and change the lives of others as well. To be safe,

• Always wear a helmet
• Have your passenger wear a helmet
• Keep your bike well maintained and follow all safety instructions
• Practice riding with a passenger in a parking lot before hitting the open road
• Follow all traffic laws
• Never drink and drive. Never use intoxicating drugs and drive.
• Don't ride when you're tired. Take breaks often.
• Don't ride when you're angry or otherwise upset
• Do not use a cell phone or text while you're driving.
• Be aware of your surroundings. Constantly scan. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
• Stay out of drivers' blind spots
• Do not lane split or lane share with a car or truck
• Pull over if the weather makes riding your bike unsafe.
• Be aware of cars making left turns in front of you.
• Do not attempt to pass a car which is making a left turn.
• Do not speed.
• Be aware of hazardous road conditions such as icy or wet roads which make the surface slippery, pot holes, dead animals, and other hazards on the roadway.

How Most Motorcycle Accidents Occur on Missouri Roadways

• Head-On Crashes with Another Vehicle - cars hit the front of motorcycle most of the time; accidents, involving cars hitting the back of a motorcycle, are rare. Head-on car or truck - motorcycle crashes are often fatal.

• Cars Making Left-Hand Turns - for example, you try to pass or are passing a car that is making a left hand turn; or, a car turns left in front of you without ample space. Even if the car driver is found to be negligent, you may be already dead or seriously injured.

• Lane Splitting - occurs when the motorcycle rides up the traffic line between two lanes of cars when cars are stopped or slow moving.

• Drunk Driving causes impairment

• Speeding slows your reaction time

• Road Hazards such as icy or wet roads which make the surface slippery, pot holes, dead animals, and other hazards on the roadway.

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Helmet Laws Could Reduce Risk of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Columbia and Jefferson City Missouri, Nationwide

Missouri is currently one of 21 states that require motorcyclists to wear a helmet while traveling state roadways to help reduce the risk of fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents in Columbia and elsewhere.
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The National Traffic Safety Board is looking to make a universal helmet law that all states would have to enforce. Motorcycle helmets were added to its "most wanted list" last year to increase motorcycle safety. The call for this increased safety measure comes after the number of motorcycle crashes doubled between 1997 and 2008.

Our Columbia car accident attorneys understand that motorcycle riders are typically more vulnerable in a traffic accident that those in a passenger vehicle. Road rash, broken bones and head injuries are some of the most common injuries. In a recent study conducted in the Los Angeles area that studied 900 motorcycle accidents, the results found that the most deadly injuries were to the chest and head.

With the spring and summer months upon us, more and more motorcyclists will be hitting our roadways and for this reason, the National Safety Council designates May as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Throughout the entire month the council encourages all motorists to share the road safely with motorcyclists and also to be extra cautious and alert when they're nearby.

While there are states that do not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet, we encourage all Missouri residents to wear their helmets when crossing over state lines and heading into unknown territory.

There are a number of ways a motorcyclist can preserve their safety when hitting the roads this month:

-Always wear a helmet.

-Try a leather motorcycle jacket as one can help you to avoid serious burn or road rash in the event of an accident.

-Non-slip gloves can help you to maintain control of your bike.

-Leather pants and sturdy ankle-high boots can provide extra security for your lower half in the event of an accident.

Motor-vehicle and motorcycle accident fatalities have seen an increase of more than 130 percent between 1998 and 2008. In 2007, the mileage death rate for motorcyclists was nearly 40 times greater than those for passenger car occupants.

"Throughout spring and summer the number of motorcyclists on the road will increase. It is important for both motorists and motorcyclists to be aware of one another," said David Teater, NSC senior director of Transportation Initiatives. "To better defend themselves, motorcyclists should follow the rules of the roadway and wear protective gear, including a Department of Transportation compliant helmet."

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Columbia, Missouri Motorcyclists Take to the Roads--Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise


As the weather warms up Columbia, Missouri motorcyclists are excitedly getting their bikes out of the garage and taking to the roads in celebration. This puts them in much more danger than over the winter when they used their cars or trucks. Motorcycle accidents seem to be an inevitable result of warmer weather.

Missouri's current motorcycle helmet law has already been repealed in the Missouri Senate, and is awaiting a hearing in the House. If the new law passes, only those under 21 would be legally required to wear a helmet. Previously Governor Nixon has vetoed any attempts to do away with the helmet law. As Columbia personal injury attorneys, we are all too aware of the dangers of riding without a helmet, and we urge the Missouri Legislature to keep the helmet law in place for the safety of our loved ones!

Causes of Columbia Motorcycle Accidents

Education about motorcycle safety for both car and truck drivers and motorcycle riders is imperative if we are to work together and avoid Columbia motorcycle accidents and injuries.

According to the Hurt Study, the most comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents to date...
"The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents."

Safety Tips for Sharing the Roads with Motorcyclists and Deterring Columbia Motorcycle Accidents:

• Motorcycles are harder to spot than cars, and look farther away than they really are. Compensate by actively watching for motorcycles near your vehicle.
• Instead of braking, motorcyclists frequently either downshift or let up on the gas, so there is not brake light to warn you. Keep a safe distance and don't tailgate them.
• Never share a lane with a motorcycle, this inevitably leads to traffic accidents.
• Understand that motorcyclists are much more vulnerable, with or without a helmet, than you are in your steel vehicle, so afford them extra consideration. You are not looking at a motorcycle; you are looking at another human being!


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